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Let The Negotiations Begin

Posted on Wed May 12th, 2021 @ 9:42am by Captain Abigail Laurens & Lieutenant Commander William Rogers & Commander Ichiko Gail & Lieutenant Commander William Gunnison & Lieutenant Commander Calvin Morgan

Mission: Pathstone to History
Location: Abeesi - Dalacar

"The Federation has a strong history of peaceful exploration," Abigail explained, her hands wrapped firmly around a cup of chai. Clearly the Dalacari had gone above and beyond with their hospitality, catering for every taste the Federation assembly may have requested. "We have had a limited number of ships in the Delta Quadrant for a number of years now without incident and we want nothing more than to be able to continue our peaceful exploration and making new friends, like your people. With the Graviton Catapult functional it was much easier to travel the distance between our sectors, but now with the Graviton Catapult decommissioned, the journey is limited to ships with Quantum Slip Stream capacity, and even then takes upward of 6 months to travel one way."

So far the conversation had been light, but Abigail sensed that they were starting to get to the crux of things, the questions had started becoming more intense, more focused, something that was making her increasingly nervous. She picked up her cup, sipped slowly at the tea as she cast a glance at Ichiko, and then at the rest of her senior staff who were present.

Ichiko held her own cup of tea gently, as though any tighter a grip would shatter the cup. At Abigail's glance, Ichiko simply gave a nod and a soft smile. The comforting smile of a good friend. She had to be cautious not to tip the proverbial hand to Goki, who probably already realized that Ichiko wasn't just here as Ship Second, but also as Abigail's Emotional Support Ts'usugi.

Alia Vass, the diplomat assigned to these matters by the Dalacari Republic, sat in such a way to complete the Triangle shape formed by herself, Goki, and Abigail. "And, if you can perhaps fill in that detail... what happened to decommission the catapult?" she asked, setting her own coffee down on the lovely table. Circular, silver but with an anodized shine to it. Intricate markings and patterns.

A drone. As Ichiko warned.

"The Graviton Catapult was decommissioned after the loss of the USS Tyche and presumably all 900 odd lives onboard. The Tyche was loaded with supplies destined for the Delta Quadrant to aid our vessels that are already here. Starfleet Engineering doesn't know if the Catapult misfired, or if the accident was an under powered discharge but regardless," Abigail replied quietly as her gaze shifted momentarily to the drone before she looked back to Alia. "Life is paramount, and such a catastrophic loss of life cannot and will not be risked again."

The number was staggering. Alia was in shock, while Daisan shook his head slowly. "Dia's graces, that's terrible." Alia was the first to break the silence. There was a moment of silence in the air, though whether it was out of observance of those lost, or just trying to find the words for the next bit, was hard to say.

"We'll keep those lost souls in our thoughts, and going forward, we'll see about trying to ease the loss." she continued, "Though, in their honor, and to ensure something like that never can happen..."

"... again, let us all continue." she paused again, another sip of her drink. Abigail's words and declaration really struck home for the Dalacari. Life, and its importance. "We usually contract out usage of the Pathstone..."

"... Station on an annual basis so while these negotiations would not need to be held as such, I just wanted to get that on the record that going forward, the contract would be renewing unless..."

"... either side felt the need to terminate it. In exchange for usage of the Pathstone complex, we'd ask a few simple concessions. First, you'd station a small number of ships to your end of the..."

"... Pathstone station pairing, to act as additional defense for the station itself. It's unarmed, as it has to commit everything to its function." she started. "There's no negotiation there. If your Federation..."

"... wishes to use the Pathstone, they have to be willing to help protect it."

"That is a given," Abigail replied calmly with a nod. "We are more than willing to offer resources, vessels to help protect your installation," Abigail said quietly. "I'm well aware of how important it is." She paused for a moment.

"We were briefly aboard the installation before we moved through the aperture, we dined with Overseer Sera Dega, she indicated that you had intentions to build a starbase on the Alpha Quadrant side of Pathstone." She paused for a moment, contemplating. "We would be happy to provide a temporary Federation staffed Starbase while you build your own as well as vessels to patrol the area and protect the installation should the need arise.

"Secondly, the system where the Pathstone station is in will be considered neutral territory. Initially we were considering having it ceded to the Dalacari Republic but I think that just having it as..."

"... neutral, uncontested space would go better."

"Of course," Abigail stated firmly. "The Federation has no intention of stepping on your toes in your own back yard."

"Third, and this one you may need to communicate with your superiors. By using the Pathstone, the Federation enters into a non-aggression pact with the Dalacari Republic and the Ts'usugi..."

"... Empire. Violating that would result in revocation of the use of Pathstone for a duration determined by a council ruling."

Goki spoke up next, "To help you get in touch with your superiors, I'm prepared to offer Buoy rations to help you call home. The Buoys are our secret comm network, seeded wherever we travel. They will remain secret, but if all goes well, I'd be prepared to sweeten the negotiations with rationed access to the network. Enough to make monthly reports, send letters home, and in case of emergencies." the fleetmaster cited. "But for that, Shipmaster Laurens, I'd ask something in return on behalf of the Empire. We can discuss that later, after this."

As Goki finished speaking, Abigail looked back toward Alia and Daisan. "Admiral Devane charged me with these negotiations because of my existing friendship with the Ts'usugi people," she smiled toward Ichiko. "I am more than happy to have that forged in writing, a formal pact between our people."

Finally, turning back to Goki, Abigail smiled again. "And of course Fleetmaster, I am more than happy to make time to speak with you after."

Ichiko gave a smile back to Abigail, and a nod. Goki gave a nod, "Nothing cloak or dagger, I assure you. Simply that the negotiations for Buoy rationings is something that should be between us." and Alia gave a pair of nods, "Of course." she paused, as though considering something.

"Did you want to take a break from the moment to convene with your superiors? While we both understand that you represent the Federation, we also recognize that you might not..."

"... speak for them in the entirety. I doubt they'd say no to anything thus far, but if you wish to communicate with home..." she motioned to Goki, and he gave a nod, "I'll arrange for the connection. Free of charge." he stated. "We can get the formal documentation in a matter of minutes. Nothing as substantial as the Three Dawn Accord..." he continued, and Alia giggled, "Let's hope not. We don't want to drown the poor dear in paperwork."

A laugh shared. Goki continued, "Certainly not. Just the formal particulars. Paperwork, you see, makes the worlds go round."

"If it's okay, Fleetmaster Goki, I think I will take you up on that offer," Abigail smiled politely. "I am confident of our responses, but it never hurts to make sure, right?" she stood up slowly. "Perhaps we could talk while we walk?"

Goki gave a nod as he rose, "Then with the ambassador's permission, I second. We adjourn momentarily to handle the paperwork." and with that, the Fleetmaster motioned within the building, to lead Abigail to somewhere she could make a communique out.

Buck watched as the Fleetmaster and the captain left the table. "So I guess we just sit around in silence 'til they get back?" He gave a small shrug and looked around at the rest of the delegates. "Don't suppose anyone has any cards?"

"Wouldn't you know, I'm fresh out," Will quipped. "I suppose we could always play charades. My son seems to be fascinated by that lately, and I could always use the practice to keep up with him."

"Oh, I could get you a deck if you want one." Alia offered. "I don't know if they'll, you know what, this could be an interesting experiment. Gamma Ninety Nine, would you..."

"... retrieve a deck of cards from the fabricator for us all?" she asked, and an attendant drone gave a nod and moved to the wall unit to retrieve, as fate would have it, a deck of cards. For all the universe to behold, it was a standard deck of cards. With a few aesthetic differences.

She handed the deck over towards Will. A quick browse would show a few differences. The suits were different, for starters. Moons and Stars, Swords and Shields. Each suite was still numbered 2 through 10, then three face cards and an ace. The 2 of each suit, though, was similar to a face card in that it had an icon printed on it: Each deuce was a Drone.

The letters of each face card were written in Dalacari script, and rather than royalty or such, each suite tailored to a specific notion or various leaders in the various aspects of Dalacari life. Each Ace, as it were, was simply identified by a singular mark of the suite's ... suite. A moon, a star, a sword, or a shield.

"Do you know any fun ga..." Alia started, but was cut off by the untimely intrusion of several security drones. Denoted from the standard drone forces by the less shiny appearance, quieter approach, oh and the weapon on their side might have also been a hint. None of them were drawn, but their presence darkened the mood.

"What is the meaning of this?" the Dalacari ambassador asked, and one of the drones in the group spoke up ::Apologies for the inconvenience. By order of central security, a Special Investigation has been issued for members of the United Federation of Planets and Starfleet. Members of this designation are to be reclassified as Remanded Guests and escorted to a secure location for their safety. The terms of this Special Investigation will be declared once all parties that meet the criteria are secure.::

"Is there a danger?" Alia asked, and the drone that was speaking continued to speak ::No, provided our guests are willing.:: and with that, the drones in the security detail moved to allow the group to depart the pagoda.

::This way.::

Buck pushed his chair back slowly and stood. He fixed the last Alia to speak with a stern look. "Being detained on secret charges feels like 'a danger' to me."

Calvin stood, “Oh what could go wrong? Being secretly detained, CO missing,” He paused for a moment. “Oh, the lack of alcohol. Hopefully detainment has nice drones who brings drinks as well,” Calvin stated, his voice pure sarcasm hiding a strong uneasiness to the situation.

Alia looked about as confused as the others. As Buck stood, so did she. "Designate." she spoke to the speaking drone. It responded immediately ::Beta Thirty Seven, designated.::

She took a pair of breaths, "Beta Thirty Seven, please explain the matter."

:A special investigation has been called for...:: though Alia cut it off, "Sorry, I know. WHY is there a special investigation on our guests?"

::A security concern exists in remarking about the investigation in the presence of non-secured potentials.:: Beta Thirty Seven remarked. Alia took another breath, summoning all her diplomatic cool. "I will vouch for them, and their security. Please explain the situation."

A pause, as though it were either thinking, or communicating. ::Exoplanetary Exploration Probe 73-R detected an anomaly. This anomaly is currently broadcasting and emitting energy signatures that match to one ten thousandth of a percent the energy signatures listed for the United Federation of Planets. The sudden presence of such a massive signature so closely after the arrival of Astraea prompted the calling of the Special Investigation. This is all that is permitted to be disclosed at this time. Chief of Security and Well Being has been informed of this inquiry.::

Alia slumped a bit, going so far as to fall back into her chairs. She looked at Buck, apologetic, "You didn't happen to bring along a spare starbase while you came through..."

"... Pathstone, and didn't report it to customs, did you?" she asked, a half-hearted smile on her face. An attempt to salvage something from this.

::Correction, Madam Ambassador. The anomaly's mass is several orders of magnitude greater than any starbase configuration on record.::

The ambassador's protests ameliorated Buck's anger somewhat, but he remained suspicious. He shook his head, arms crossed. "Whatever it is it ain't ours: Astraea's the second biggest class of ship we have; and starbases have to be built on site."

“Full service accommodations and tour. Even get to see their detention center. I bet it’s more plush than ours,” Calvin piped up, his sarcasm not meant to help much.

"I don't suppose that there's a chance that we could take a look at the sensor readings on this object?" Will asked. "Perhaps, by doing so, we might be able to help determine what is going on."

::The crew of the Astraea will be given every opportunity to review and assist as requested, once they have been secured. The situation regarding the special investigation will be fully explained at that time. This way.:: and the lead drone, as it were, motioned for the crew to follow.

The mention of the investigation being 'fully explained' later once more raised Buck's suspicions and he shot a glance at both the ambassador and his crewmates with raised eyebrows. "Beta Thirty Seven. Ambassador Alia did not request a partial explanation for the Special Investigation. You should finish carrying out her instruction before you do anything else."

::The situation will be fully explained to Ambassador Alia once the guests from the Federation are secured. There is no need to fully detail the situation to her while unsecured Federation guests are present.:: it paused, ::This way.::

"Beta Thirty Seven, " Will said stepping forward, "while I admit that I do not fully understand the Dalacari or your ways, where I come from, when you are detaining individuals, it is customary to specify the exact nature of the alleged crime to the accused that is the basis for said detaining. There have been no indication of hostilities from this anomaly, or from us. I fail to see why the simple appearance of an anomaly that is apparently doing nothing more than emitting energy signals on par with Federation power sources would mandate detaining us. While an investigation is certainly warranted, if this anomaly is Federation in origin we are very likely in a better position to quickly establish what it is, how and why it is here, and how to address the situation in a non-hostile manner."

::These are details that will be explained in full once all relevant parties are secure. This is a conversation best had with the Chief of Security and Well Being at a designated secure location. Details concerning the investigation are being withheld to all parties to prevent contamination of the investigation. At the moment, you and the present remainder of the Astraea crew have failed to oblige being escorted to a secure location, but you have not yet become threats to those in the area. You are hereby asked again to relocate to a secure location.:: it paused, ::This way.::

One of the drones broke off from the group to walk towards the Ambassador. ::Ambassador Alia, for your safety, please vacate the area.:: and the Dalacari shook her heads. "No. No I will not allow this to devolve to further chaos.

Buck clenched his fists. He was certain he could rip Beta Thirty Seven's stupid head off. He wanted to. Really wanted to. It would be a futile gesture, only buying the group a few seconds before he was tazered into submission by the other drones. Not something he wanted to experience again in a hurry. "We've pushed our luck far enough. Dr Morgan; Commander Gunnison; we're going to be dragged to the detainment centre one way or another. Might as well be conscious."


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